It was the highly anticipated match-up between the top two teams in the Western Conference, and it didn’t disappoint.
The San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks went goal-for-goal in the opening period Tuesday, going to their respective dressing rooms tied 3-3 after 20 minutes.
The scoring didn’t come at nearly the same pace the rest of the evening, however things got heated when Sharks center Andrew Desjardins caught Blackhawks veteran winger Jamal Mayers with a devastating – and controversial – open-ice hit and was ejected from the game for a match penalty, hit to the head.
Blackhawks’ defenseman Duncan Keith immediately jumped in to fight Desjardins. The Hawks, thanks to goals from Patrick Kane in the second and third periods, went on to a 5-3 victory.
“We’re trying to get that out of our game,” Mayers told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s unfortunate that happened but we got a power play out of it and most importantly, we won the game.”
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan took an opposite stance, believing Desjardins didn’t deserved a match penalty.
“It was a terrible call,” McLellan told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I don’t know if we were going to be able to come back or not, but at that point we were still in the game. We had every opportunity to win. We should have been on a four-minute power play.”
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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment: